Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

WordPress Theme Sites: My Faves


I love WordPress, and can occasionally obsess over finding new themes to try out on my blog. I’m incredibly picky and have narrowed down my searching to just a few sites that deliver professional-quality themes. In case you’re interested, I’m going to list my favorite sites below.

Although free themes are perfect for people who want simple site designs or whose sites are for personal use, I always recommend that people who want professional sites pony up a few bucks for a really well-designed WordPress theme. Not only will these themes have more features and better design standards (on the whole), they usually come with some sort of customer support so you can ask questions while you’re customizing your blog. Also, it’s a good idea to financially support talented theme designers so they can continue to make us look great. And hey, none of my favorite sites charge a whole lot anyway. ($)

This is, by far, my favorite site for new WordPress themes. For a single fee of $39 (it was $20 when I joined), you get access to all themes, past and future. Yep, just one small fee for all of them. Nick releases new themes regularly and listens to user feedback. He keeps all the themes current, so even the older styles work with the latest versions of WordPress. On top of that, I love the clean lines in his designs and his understanding of typography. Browse the gallery, check out all the different color options for each design, and play with the live demos. If you don’t like any of his current designs, chances are you’ll like one in the future. He’s always trying new things. ($$)

These folks build very slick, very complicated themes. I’m using one now, and I bet I could configure it to do my dishes if I tried hard enough. Seriously — they offer gorgeous themes (each with variations) and most have a serious artistic edge. They’re more expensive and their terms of use for the WordPress Theme Club are a little more complicated. I had to really push the limits of my (albeit limited) HTML, CSS, and PHP knowledge to modify the theme how I wanted, and I still don’t have it quite right. But the customer support has been great, and the files have been well organized. If you like the themes as they are, or if you don’t mind fiddling around with code, check these themes out. (Just make sure you stay in the WordPress section — they also offer themes for different platforms.) ($$)

This is the consignment store of the WordPress Theme world. Lots of different designers submit themes to sell. They are theoretically all vetted for quality, but I’ve definitely purchased a few lemons along the way. I created the current Cosmic Toast Studios website with a theme from this site, and it worked exceptionally well right away. Pay close attention to the ratings on each theme and don’t take anything for granted. Sometimes an obvious, essential feature will be missing from an otherwise brilliant design.

Smashing Magazine Theme Lists (FREE)

Smashing Magazine frequently compiles lists of free or paid WordPress Themes — the best of the best, in their eyes. I’ve found tons of excellent free themes this way, and it saves you the trouble of sifting through hundreds of mediocre or poorly coded themes. You can search on “WordPress Themes” at the magazine’s site, but pay attention to the date of the article. Older themes are frequently not updated for newer versions of WordPress, and they seldom take advantage of the new and improved features of the platform. Smashing Magazine’s 100 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes for 2010.

Got any favorite WordPress Theme sites or lists? Please share!

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • You're so right–the selection out there seems limitless. So many beautiful things, it's hard to choose. I deeply appreciate your advice to go premium, if for no other reason than it helped me narrow my choices!I finally went with one from Still playing with it, but I'm pretty happy.

    • Thanks so much for the recommendation! I hadn’t seen that site before, and will definitely be exploring their themes more fully. I love what you’ve done with your site so far!

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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